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Qantas confirms closure of “subscale” Avalon maintenance facility

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 8, 2013

A file image of a Qantas 747-400. (Seth Jaworski)
A file image of a Qantas 747-400. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas has confirmed it will close its Avalon heavy maintenance base in late March next year, citing the rationalisation of its 747 fleet, and resulting in the loss of 53 Qantas and 246 Forstaff contractor staff.

“Qantas is gradually retiring our fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, which means there is not enough work to keep our Avalon base viable and productive,” Qantas Domestic CEO Lyall Strambi.

“Over the next four years there would have been up to 22 months with no scheduled maintenance at Avalon. No business could afford to continue operating a facility under those circumstances.”

Today Qantas has 15 747-400s in service, down from a peak of 34, with plans to cut that further to just 10.

“Avalon has become subscale,” said Strambi. “This decision in no way reflects on our employees at Avalon, it simply reflects the structural changes to our fleet that means long periods of no heavy maintenance work.”


The decision is the result of a “comprehensive” review into the facility, which included, Strambi said, looking at moving work to Avalon from other Qantas facilities, particularly its Brisbane heavy maintenance, and third party work. He also acknowledged a ALAEA union offer for its Avalon workers to go on three months pay without leave to help keep the facility open, but that three months leave was “just a drop in the ocean and doesn’t solve the problem”.

Strambi said Qantas will now work with its affected employees to “explore redployment opportunities”.

It will also consider where future 747-400 maintenance work will take place, with Qantas looking both onshore at is Brisbane facility and at third-party facilities in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK and US.

On the timing of the decision for future 747 maintenance Strambi said that Qantas had “well into next year before we have to make that determination”.

Qantas has already closed its Tullamarine maintenance facility, consolidating heavy maintenance for A330s, 767s and 737s at an enlarged Brisbane facility.



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Comments (10)

  • Matt


    Very disappointed with Qantas to the point I don’t think I will fly with the airline again
    By the way I’m not a unionist, but a common bloke

  • Dane


    No wonder people in Australia don’t want to become maintenance engineers. The country’s biggest airline would rather save money than jobs.

  • Bill


    Times are changing. QF needs to change also to ensure the profitability of the company for the future.

    22 months with no scheduled maintenance is a long time to be absorbing the expenses of the base.

  • Chris Grealy


    There has really been no reason to fly with Qantas for many years, and a whole lot of good reasons not to. They might as well move the whole thing offshore to China.

  • Jim


    Why don’t people understand that if there’s no work for them to do 100% of the time there’s no point in employing people! They are in the business of making money and keeping afloat.
    I always prefer to fly Virgin over Qantas but even I understand this

  • Dane


    Why not invest in an A380 maintenance facility at Avalon? Qantas have known they were getting them for the better part of decade and could have converted one or more of the hangars to handle the A380.

  • Austen


    22 months out of 48 without work, but still paying it’s staff is a hell of a lot of expenses!

    What people a failing to understand is, yes Qantas is having to close the facility, but there will be more jobs open up in Brisbane for those people and others!! I’ve had 2 friends work at Avalon (and from what I’ve heard about the culture down there, I’m glad they’re no longer servicing plans down there.) one moved down from Brisbane and was a engineer with them, specialising in oxygen systems, but he moved back home after 4 years, to still work with Qants, the other was made redundant about 3 years ago when they first started moving the heavy maintenance away, so they re-trained him for free in being a crew chief!

    People can’t just expect that they are entitled to a job! No work. No job. Simple.

  • MO


    Sometimes I drive past the local fish shop and buy imported fish from the supermarket, I don’t recognise the brand of most of the clothes I buy. I NEVER throw money out of the window. I expect QANTAS to similarly manage their finances even though I might be doing the local fish guy out of a job.

  • Matt


    Ok if a business can’t survive there are no jobs, but if you have good staff wouldn’t you try to redeploy them.
    Correct if companies aren’t making money, of course that would in tail a lack of jobs, but why are there countries able to bring back work in engineering and manufactureing.

  • John Harrison


    As much as I understand Qantas has to look to save money. The slap in the face must have been (from the media reports I’ve heard) The remaining B747-438s will be serviced Overseas. Surely they (Qantas) could
    have kept Avalon going, albeit on a smaller scale to keep servicing the B747s as long as the company still’
    has them.

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